Trevor Hayley


Funeral and Life Memorial Celebrant

A Caring Presence for you and your family so you can Celebrate a Life

Servicing Greater Adelaide, Fleurieu, South Coast and Adelaide Hills Regions of South Australia



Should we say more when people are alive?

Because of death, we appreciate life #2

Some beautiful reflections of a ‘Joanne’, about her ‘Nursie’ , Frances Sproat who died:

“On the last day of 1998 Frances Sproat, my Nursie passed away. Lives weave webs amongst people and one point in that web has physically left us. Through no design of my own, my wonderful Mother selected Nursie to be in my life and was lucky enough to have her look after me as a baby and be loved by her throughout our lives. Her love and care is the most beautiful thing to behold. My love for her is deep and will be with me always. To a wonderful person I give my gratitude for letting me be a small part of you. To her family, especially Betty, I am honored to know you.”

What an absolutely beautiful, heartfelt and growing tribute! It seems that ‘Nursie’ has had a profound impact, helping to create the wonderful, and well-rounded adult that Joanne has become. We all long, I am thinking, for such influences in our lives, and it would seem that Joanne is reflecting, and is thankful for the influence of Frances in her life.

But I have a question……………………….

I am hoping that Joanne let her ‘Nursie’ know how much she was appreciated while ‘Nursie’ was alive. I mean, if there are such glowing reflections, surely this would have happened? I wonder as a reader what your answer would be to this question?

At funerals we have these things called ‘eulogies.’ You know that speech where we reflect on the life of one who was; the thing that can cast fear into the best of us. It is not only the public speaking bit that scares, but also the bit where we hope we will not belittle the life of the one who has died, by giving a ‘sub-standard’ eulogy. It is at these times that we often speak about the deceased in glowing terms; their achievements, their influence, and yes even the ‘quirkiness’ that we define as endearing qualities. We say much at funerals.

But I am wondering what we say to these people while they are still alive? Do we thank them for their influence, and what they mean to us? Or when it comes to the end, do we have a list of things we wished we could have said, but didn’t? Or maybe we just are not aware that sometimes things need to be said, as we all need to feel appreciated. The answer is simple; tell them while you can. Maybe the next time you see them. That is the ‘take home’ message for today. I am encouraging myself in this, as much as any who may be reading this blog.

Yes eulogies can be scary, but let’s take the pressure off ourselves a little. Often the most endearing eulogies are ones where there are tears, ones where just memory after memory is shared, often in a random order. I always say to families I become involved in, if you decide at the time of the eulogy, and change your mind about whether you do or do not deliver the eulogy that is fine. I can step in to whatever you need.

There is nothing better that a person who decides in our first meeting they do not want to deliver the eulogy, but at the very last second, changes their mind and delivers it. They will do so much a better job at delivering the eulogy than I ever could. Family members knowing they have an ‘out’ kind of takes the pressure off, and will often rise to the occasion.

The commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.

Photo by Nikoline Arns on Unsplash




Trevor Hayley
Servicing Greater Adelaide and Regional South Australia

Phone: 0409 107 372


ABN 73 737 609 724

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